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“The Stranger” by Albert Camus


Introduction

In this work, the strategy of the author Albert Camus seems to present the protagonist Meursault as a “stranger”. Nevertheless, in the end, the work shows that it is not Meursault, but his neighbor Raymond and the society that may be actually deemed as strangers, indulging in absurd behavior. Protagonist’s strange behavior is depicted by his reluctance to show or express his emotions, but he has exhibited biological and psychological urges like others. For example, he is shows liking for sex and friendship. This shows that he was not different from others, but his friends and acquaintances failed to understand values such as honesty and respect for friendship.

The world of strangers  

The novel depicts Meursault as the main character having strange behavior such as not showing emotions when his mother died, while others showed their emotions. Strangeness of the protagonist is reflected in the attitude of the court, judges, and others present in the court towards the protagonist. They are surprised that Meursault is indifferent to killing of a person, but he killed a person who had emerged as a threat to his own life. He showed that he is a normal person when he reacted to the judgment that announced capital punishment for his crime. It is possible that Meursault was not willing to exhibit his emotions unlike others who demonstrated their feelings for the dead person. His actions may look peculiar, but they are not strange because Meursault exhibited honesty, which one needs to appreciate.

There is a need to appreciate the fact that Meursault, in actuality, demonstrated values such as honesty, integrity, and respect for friendship, and in this sense persons like Raymond exhibit strange behavior. This is because Raymond deliberately abused his friendship with Meursault to achieve his selfish goals. In actuality, it appears that Raymond planned to ‘use’ Meursault to defend himself from his girlfriend and her Arab brother, with whom he had entered into a bloody fight. It is true that Meursault became responsible for the death of the person, who had fought with Raymond. Meursault kills the person by shooting him, and this can be considered as an act of self-defense. In this way, the protagonist showed love for his friend Raymond. It is natural that Meursault behaves in the way he behaved as depicted in the novel. It is apparent that he has a set of values and principles, he has acted to preserve them, and such actions should not be construed as ‘strange’. Rather, it is the society, the world at large, including Raymond who should be criticized for indulging in strange behavior.

Conclusion

The novel ‘The Stranger’ depicts Meursault as a stranger, but the paper contends that the protagonist cannot be considered as a person who indulged in strange behavior, as he has defended his values and principles in life. He has respected friendship with Raymond, and he murdered a person to protect his friend. It is the society’s behavior, which can be considered as strange, as it has failed to comprehend the values that Meursault professed.



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